In just a few day's time the new councillors will be sworn into their roles and mayors elected. However in Mijas, until the PSOE's pact with Ciudadnos and Por mi Pueblo was announced, no one dared guess what might happen. The election result left the province's third biggest municipality in a terribly complex situation whose outcome would be bizarre whatever happened. Despite court cases and party-switching, old enemies will have to try to get along with one another.
This week the only thing clear was the result of 28 May. The PSOE won with 10 seats, followed by the PP with nine. Then came Vox (3), Ciudadanos (2) and Por mi Pueblo (led by former mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado) has one seat. Looking at the figures, there are only two possible mayors, Josele González (PSOE) or Ángel Nozal (PP).
When it came down to the numbers, the (Socialist) PSOE had fewer options. To reach the 13 votes needed for an absolute majority, González needed his ten councillors, the two from Ciudadanos and the one from Por mi Pueblo. The PSOE-Ciudadanos relationship is more or less good; they've just come out of a four-year coalition government and the acting mayor gets on well with local Ciudadanos spokesman, José Carlos Martín. If it were just up to the two of them, there would be a government without a doubt. However to make 13 they needed Juan Carlos Maldonado, who has previously been councillor with the PSOE and mayor with Ciudadanos. The 2015-2019 term ended with Maldonado throwing Josele González out of local government; then he gave him his vote to make him mayor and ended up trying to take the role away from him with a no-confidence vote that in the end he didn't go through with as the numbers didn't add up.
On the other hand, the (conservative) PP had an opportunity to take control of Mijas town hall, with some issues. With nine councillors it could join forces with the three from hard-right Vox, and then try to make a pact with Ciudadanos or Por mi Pueblo. However the problem is their candidate: Ángel Nozal. The two Ciudadanos councillors would not vote for the PP if it meant Nozal being mayor, although they probably would have made a deal if the PP put up a different candidate. That would mean they didn't have to depend on Maldonado, something which for all the parties would be a "time bomb". "If it all depends on him it's probable that whoever starts the term as mayor will end it in the opposition," a spokesperson from one of the parties told SUR.
So the question among the rest of the parties was whether Maldonado, who ousted Nozal from his government in 2015 and reported him several times for alleged corruption, would be capable of making him mayor. While other parties thought he would, they pointed out that Maldonado's current party list is full of ex-Socialists who are unhappy with the local running of their party, but they would be hard-pressed to pact, not just with Nozal, but also with Vox. "We hope that for once he acts coherently and doesn't gift the town hall to the PP," said other political representatives.
If Nozal had stepped to one side to allow another PP candidate for mayor, that would facilitate a right-wing pact (PP, Cs and Vox), leaving Maldonado out of play. However PP provincial sources ruled out that option: "Ángel Nozal is our candidate. It wouldn't make sense to ask him to stand down. That scenario is not on the table."
And if that wasn't enough, in a few weeks' time the trial is due to start in the 'Cartera' (postman) case in which a former PP councillor is accused of making a false police report which ended up with Maldonado being put under investigation in the 2018 regional election campaign.
What's more, another court case is still due, the so-called 'Sobresueldos' (inflated salary) case, in which the private prosecution, brought by the town hall, is calling for a possible 12-year ban on holding public office for Nozal, the same man who, in a few day's time, could be at the helm of the institution whose legal services believe he should be banned. It's not known yet what the public prosecution is calling for.